Facilitating a Faculty-Led International Program: From Start to Finish TIps from the Global Education Office

At the end of this module, you will be able to...

  • Know who to contact to assist you with planning your program
  • Understand the steps in planning an international program
  • Determine if leading a group abroad is right for you
  • Access the Faculty-Led International Program Planning Timeline and other resources

Hi everyone! I'm Annette Mares-Duran, the Faculty-Led International Program Coordinator in the Global Education Office. In this role, I collaborate with departments to develop group study abroad programs to destinations all over the world. Born and raised in New Mexico, I'm a passionate ambassador for international education in the state. I look forward to working with you to create international experiences for our UNM community.

Contact me at amares2@unm.edu

Let's get started...

Plan your work and work your plan

There are many considerations to think through as you plan an international program. Some of these considerations must be done well in advance of the departure date, some of them will be done days before travel and some will be done after you return. Therefore, we have designed this module to help you think through some critical questions, guide your planning and provide you access to resources that can help ensure a safe and successful program.

When should I start planning my international program?

Timing is Everything

If this is your first time planning an international program, we highly suggest you start planning at least one year in advance of your projected departure date. This will provide plenty of time to work through all the steps in the process and have time in case there are unexpected hold-ups you run into. So, if you plan to leave in summer 2022, start planning in summer 2020.

If this is not your first rodeo, you can most likely shave a couple of months off but we encourage you to start preparing 9-10 months in advance. Given you have ran a program before, some steps can be expedited. If planning for summer 2021, start planning in the fall semester.

Where do I start?!

Review the 9 Step Program Guide, work through the action items, and be sure to contact us with any questions you have. You can see the entire 9 Step Program Guide conveniently organized into a one page at-a-glace guide available for print and/or you can work through the process using this self-paced module.

12-11 Months Before Departure

1. Read Policy 2710

2. Review program leader website

3. Determine:

  • Program structure: will your program be embedded in a course or standalone?
  • Course title/number
  • Salary/course load

4. Designate a co-leader. This can be another faculty/staff member but it doesn't have to be. This can be a local facilitator or responsible student.

5. Create partnerships with host country organizations or third party providers that may assist you with your program. You may already have your own contacts, but if you would like support with connections, let us know.

6. Review funding opportunities for faculty members and students

Step 2: Open a Faculty-Led International Program Proposal or Exemption Proposal

12 - 9 Months Before Departure

1. Log onto the GEO website and open a Proposal or Exemption for Faculty Led International Travel

*Complete the Proposal if your destinations are currently under a State Department Level 1 or Level 2 Travel Advisory Level. Complete the Travel Warning Exception Proposal if the proposed location is listed with a Level 3 or 4. Click here to determine the advisory level for your destination.

We encourage you to start the proposal or exemption with the information you have now and then update it as you get more information. All proposals will require the following information:

  • Program Title
  • Departure and Return Dates
  • Course Start Date
  • Application Plan
  • Language of Instruction
  • GPA
  • Area(s) of study
  • Itinerary
  • Program Description
  • Housing details (for Clery)
  • # Expected Participants
  • Program Leader Information
  • A copy of your Passport
  • Budget/Costs/Payment Details
  • Department Admin. Information
  • Supervisor Approval
  • Resources or Photos
  • Signed Program Leader Form

Step 3- Gain Support for Your Program

10-9 Months Before Departure

1. Meet with Annette, this is particularly important if you are applying for exemption to a higher risk destination

2. Co-Create Program Website, or edit and update your previous program website

3. Register for GEO workshops

8-7 Months Before Departure

1. Solidify vendors

2. Continue your Proposal or Exemption (from STEP 2)

3. Connect with GEO & your Department to:

  • Draft budget
  • Create student payment plan
  • Use the budget/payment guide created by GEO for support.

4. Connect with your Department to:

  • List course
  • Draft syllabus

Step 4- Promote Your Program

9-5 Months Before Departure

1. Create marketing material such as flyers, brochures, and draft emails to potential participants

2. Request assistance, if needed, or attend the marketing workshop hosted by GEO

3. Post and send marketing material

4. Host Information Sessions and/or Class Presentations for prospective participants

5. Join GEO Study Abroad Fairs

6. Direct participants to apply or register at GEO website (Make sure your program webpage is active before doing so.

Step 5- Review Health and Safety Requirements

6-3 Months Before Departure

1. Register for CISI Travel Insurance Use the code:UNM

2. Register travel at STEP.state.gov

3. Ensure passport is valid for 6 months after return date

4. Check visa requirements

5. Complete Faculty Leader Health and Safety Training

6. Review Clery Requirements. Make sure housing is detailed & accurate in your proposal.

7. Review Health & Safety risks in destination country

8. Create an emergency plan

Step 6- Prepare Participants

6-3 Months Before Departure

1. Direct students to GEO portal to complete materials

2. Manage Enrollments. If applicable, accept students using the GEO portal.

4-1 Months Before Departure

1. Set health and safety expectations

2. Keep student information confidential. Invite students to share any pre-existing health concerns they may have with you. Disclosing health information is not required from students but you should invite students to share if they are comfortable.

3. Remind participants to complete mandatory student health and safety orientation. It is a self-paced module like this one that students access on their GEO program page.

4. Create What'sApp group or other way to communicate. What'sApp is a free app that provides international texting and calling using the internet or cell service.

Step 7- Ensure Readiness

4-2 Months Before Departure

1. Purchase Flights

2. Pay vendors

2-1 Month Before Departure

1. Consider language training

2. Consider CPR training

3. Confirm participant list with GEO

4. Pick up USB and Emergency Contact Cards from GEO

5. Contact your bank and cellular provider to inform them of your travel plans

6. Provide students Emergency Contact Cards and your contact information

Step 8- Special Considerations

1. Contact Annette (amares2@unm.edu), if you answer "yes" to any of the following:

  • Will you be taking dependents?
  • Will you be driving?
  • Will you accept non-UNM participants?
  • Will the program be led by a non-UNM representative?
  • Will you hold team building opportunities?

2. Determine, any other considerations that are unique to your program

Step 9- Wrap Up Your Program

Post Program

1. Report incidents to GEO

2. Provide post-program evaluations to students, if you are collecting that data

3. Direct students to GEO program website to complete a post-program survey

4. Consider what went well and what needs improvement in future programs

5. Make adjustments for the future

6. Follow-up with your department

And just like that... you are ready!

Leading an international program can be a rewarding experience for faculty members and students, alike. However, in order to try to ensure a safe and successful program, one must diligently prepare well in advance of the departure. The better you prepare, the better the outcomes will be. We hope that this module will help you as you work through the preparation process. Please reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions throughout your planning! Go Global Lobos!


Created with images by Clay Banks - "Planning the next move (IG: @clay.banks)" • Estée Janssens - "Back to school with a bullet journal" • Glenn Carstens-Peters - "If you have a little bit of time left, how about start writing your own bucket list" • Maddi Bazzocco - "Welcome June // Calendar Series"